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Couldn’t Wait April 11, 2008

Posted by caveblogem in Books, Other.
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I spent much of my free time the last two days reading Nothing to Lose, the latest Jack Reacher thriller by Lee Child. In fact, I took half the day off yesterday, partly because the weather was so warm, for a change, but partly because I just wanted to read it.

It has been nearly a year since I started reading Child’s addictive series, of which this is the eleventh. All of the previous ten I have read more than once. So when I found out that the book was available already at the U.K. version of Amazon.com, I ordered it and sent my pounds thither posthaste.

I don’t quite get why it was released on March 24th in that backward land across the sea, but it won’t be released in the United States until June 3. There are some editing changes to be made, I know. But how long does it take to replace all the instances of “tyre” with “tire?” “Kerb” with “curb?” “Oestrogen” with “estrogen?” I suppose that they will have to sort out all of the instances where, for example “organisation” must be changed to “organization,” and sort out the other s-z issues.

And there are some words that seem to have made the jump across the pond already. The Smiths brought the word “spanner” with them packed in one of my favorite rhymes of all time:

I broke into the palace
with a sponge and a rusty spanner,
She said “I know you and you cannot sing.”
I said “that’s nothing, you should hear me play piano.”

So now we all know that a spanner is a pipe wrench.

Oh, and the covers had to be different, too, because the UK version had to show a picture of what a town in Colorado might look like (above), whereas in America these have been carefully branded over the years as a target with a bullet hole in it (below).

I guess all of the punctuation marks should be put on the other sides of quotation marks, too, so there’s one more thing to do before releasing the book here. Probably the publishers want to spare themselves having to answer irate letters from American readers complaining about [nonexistent] typographical errors.

At any rate, now that it will be another year before I get to read another Jack Reacher novel. Does anyone out there know of any books as entertaining as these with a similar hero?

Comments»

1. Cliff Burns - April 11, 2008

I’m a Lee Child fan too–not all of the books are up to snuff but the lone-hero-as-avenger shtick is such an attractive one that it’s hard to resist. Reacher is as smart as he is strong and deadly and that’s a fun combination.

Good post, can’t wait for the June release of NOTHING TO LOSE…

2. caveblogem - April 11, 2008

Thanks, Cliff. No suggestions about other authors to read in this vein?

3. Cliff Burns - April 11, 2008

You’ve set a world record by posting on my site about a nanosecond after I’d loaded on my newest mini-essay. Gawd, you’re good.

In terms of mystery/suspense writing, my favorite is James Crumley (staggeringly brilliant) and let me also plug a couple of other, off-the-beaten-track efforts: WORD MADE FLESH by Jack O’Connell (cross Kafka with Raymond Chandler) and a series of three books by Jeremy Cameron, set in a rough and tough Brit inner city: BROWN BREAD IN WENGEN, VINNIE GOT BLOWN AWAY and IT WAS AN ACCIDENT. And let us not forget the top Brit crime writer (to my mind) Jake Arnott (start with THE LONG FIRM and you’ll be hooked forever)…

4. writinggb - April 11, 2008

So this one takes place in Colorado? Does it feel like he captures that state very well? Was it worth playing hookie to read?

5. raincoaster - April 12, 2008

That’s not the Christian Fundie who writes post-Rapture adventures? If it’s not, why did I think it was?

6. caveblogem - April 14, 2008

writinggb,

It was worth playing hookie, but the bar is set pretty low there. I’m not altogether certain that I can imagine something not being worth playing hookie. Hookie is its own reward, almost.

As to whether Child captures Colorado, it’s a little hard to say. The book really focuses on two very contrived neighboring towns; one called Hope, the other Despair. Beyond that, though, Child has a feel for the environment out there, as well as a working knowledge of the historicity of that part of the world, by which I mean that he realizes that the places between the Midwest and the Pacific West were just that: places to get through, for much of their recent history.

7. caveblogem - April 14, 2008

raincoaster,

Lee Child’s books normally have little in common with Christian Fundamentalism or Post-rapture adventures. They feature an updated, much more intelligent and cultured, Mike Hammer-type of protagonist who has habits and methods with which Fundamentalists would strongly disapprove.

Perhaps, though, you gleaned a bit of the plot of this novel from the ether or something, though. Turns out that the bad guy in this book is a Fundamentalist who is working to hasten the Apocalypse. I won’t spoil the book for those who haven’t started it yet to say that the ending is surprising in some ways, but it comes as no surprise at all that it would be difficult to find a piece of the bad guy big enough to identify after the exciting climax. I try not to read too much into authorial intent, but it appears that the author would not be on the side of such people.

8. raincoaster - April 14, 2008

Does that count DNA analysis, though? If so, maybe I should read that.

9. Squathole - April 15, 2008

“Spanner.” I always thought of it as a monkey wrench, which might be the same as a pipe wrench. I’m not tool-literate (as opposed to “too-literate,” pronounced similarly.

Anyway, I’ve known the term since John Lennon’s book of poetry was published. Filled with bad puns, its title is “A Spaniard In The Works” which, in American lingo, is “A Monkey Wrench in the Machinery” because “Spaniard” was a pun on “spanner.” I was young, and it took me years.

10. caveblogem - April 16, 2008

raincoaster,

That counts DNA analysis. I think you would like the book, although some of his others are much more satisfyingly violent. I suggest Pursuader, Killing Floor, One Shot, Tripwire, or The Hard Way.

11. caveblogem - April 16, 2008

Squathole,

That’s right. A monkey wrench is the same thing. It’s used for threaded iron pipes. I imagine that for the purpose of sabotage a Spaniard could be substituted.

Didn’t know that Lennon had a book of poetry. British words are so virulent, and come at us through so many different vectors. It’s a wonder we aren’t all transatlanticists now, living in flats, (rather than wearing them), getting our gobs smacked, etc.

12. dad - April 19, 2008

I could not stand to be upread by my baby boy. So I sent off to the UK and got my copy yesterday. Great read. Thanks.


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